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The Capitoline Hill

The Capitoline Hill

Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II - 2
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II
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Capitoline Hill DSC_0902

The Victor Emmanuel II National Monument

The Victor Emmanuel II National Monument (Italian: Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II), also known as Vittoriano or Altare della Patria ("Altar of the Fatherland"), is a large national monument built between 1885 and 1935 to honour Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy, in Rome, Italy.[2] It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill.

From an architectural perspective, it was conceived as a modern forum, an agora on three levels connected by stairways and dominated by a portico characterized by a colonnade. The complex process of national unity and liberation from foreign domination carried out by King Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, to whom the monument is dedicated, has a great symbolic and representative value, being architecturally and artistically centred on the Italian unification—for this reason the Vittoriano is considered one of the national symbols of Italy.

It also preserves the Altar of the Fatherland (Italian: Altare della Patria), first an altar of the goddess Rome, then also a shrine of the Italian Unknown Soldier, thus adopting the function of a lay temple consecrated to Italy. Because of its great representative value, the entire Vittoriano is often called the Altare della Patria, although the latter constitutes only a part of the monument.

Standing in the centre of ancient Rome, and connected to the modern one by the streets that radiate from Piazza Venezia, it has been consecrated to a wide symbolic value representing a lay temple metaphorically dedicated to a free and united Italy—celebrating by virtue the burial of the Unknown Soldier (the sacrifice for the homeland and for the connected ideals).


Piazza d'Aracoeli

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Piazza d'Aracoeli

Piazza d'Aracoeli is a square of Rome (Italy), placed at the base of the Capitoline Hill, in the Rione X Campitelli.

The present aspect of the square is not the cozy one it had one time: one of the sides was destroyed during the demolitions for the building of the Vittoriano, begun in 1885, and later in the 1930s the whole area of the Capitoline Hill was isolated. The square was formerly called Market Square; it was divided into two part, the Mercato (Italian: Market), at the slopes of the Capitoline Hill, and the Mercatello (Italian: Little Market), at the opposite side northward.

The complicated demolitions Piazza d'Aracoeli has been subjected to, if on one hand have ruined the scenic design that Michelangelo used for the adjustment of the Capitoline Hill, on the other hand have opened a striking view on an outstanding urban landscape: from it is it possible to admire with a single glance the Quirinal Hill, the Trajan's Forum with its column and the Torre delle Milizie at the back, the two churches of Santa Maria di Loreto and of the Santissimo Nome di Maria, Palazzo Venezia and the buildings of the "Angelicum" cloister.

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Cordonata Capitolina

Cordonata Capitolina

Cordonata Capitolina is the wide sloping ramp stairs leading from the foot of the Capitoline Hill to Piazza del Campidoglio, the famous square designed by Michelangelo. Cordonata Capitolina was also designed by Michelangelo and built by Giacomo della Porta in 1581-1582. At its base it is flanked by two statues of Egyptian lions, and at the top it is flanked by the two marble statues of Castor and Pollux.

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Statue dei Dioscuri

Statue dei Dioscuri

Castor and Pollux (or Polydeukes) are twin half-brothers in Greek and Roman mythology, known together as the Dioscuri.

Their mother was Leda, but they had different fathers; Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, the king of Sparta, while Pollux was the divine son of Zeus, who raped Leda in the guise of a swan. The pair are thus an example of heteropaternal superfecundation. Though accounts of their birth are varied, they are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra.

In Latin the twins are also known as the Gemini[e] (literally "twins") or Castores, as well as the Tyndaridae or Tyndarids. Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. The pair were regarded as the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo's fire. They were also associated with horsemanship, in keeping with their origin as the Indo-European horse twins.

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Piazza del Campidoglio

Piazza del Campidoglio

Michelangelo's first designs for the piazza and remodeling of the surrounding palazzi date from 1536. His plan was formidably extensive. He accentuated the reversal of the classical orientation of the Capitoline, in a symbolic gesture turning Rome's civic center to face away from the Roman Forum and instead in the direction of Papal Rome and the Christian church in the form of St. Peter's Basilica. This full half circle turn can also be seen as Michelangelo's desire to address the new, developing section of the city rather than the ancient ruins of the past.[

Axiality and symmetry govern all parts of the Campidoglio. The aspect of the piazza that makes this most immediately apparent is the central statue, with the paving pattern directing the visitors’ eyes to its base. Michelangelo also gave the medieval Palazzo del Senatore a central campanile, a renovated façade, and a grand divided external staircase. He designed a new façade for the colonnaded Palazzo dei Conservatori and projected an identical structure, the Palazzo Nuovo, for the opposite side of the piazza. On the narrow side of the trapezoidal plan, he extended the central axis with a magnificent stair to link the hilltop with the city below.[

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The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, (26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD and a Stoic philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the Five Good Emperors (a term coined some 13 centuries later by Niccolò Machiavelli), and the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire lasting from 27 BC to 180 AD. He served as Roman consul in 140, 145, and 161.

The Column and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius still stand in Rome, where they were erected in celebration of his military victories. Meditations, the writings of "the philosopher" – as contemporary biographers called Marcus – are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. These writings have been praised by fellow writers, philosophers, monarchs, and politicians centuries after his death.


The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is an ancient Roman equestrian statue on the Capitoline Hill, Rome, Italy. It is made of bronze and stands 4.24 m (13.9 ft) tall. The original is on display in the Capitoline Museums, with the one now standing in the open air of the Piazza del Campidoglio being a replica made in 1981 when the original was taken down for restoration

The statue was erected around 175 AD. Its original location is debated: the Roman Forum and Piazza Colonna (where the Column of Marcus Aurelius stands) have been proposed. However, it was noted that the site where it had originally stood had been converted into a vineyard during the early Middle Ages.

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Palazzo Senatorio

Palazzo Senatorio

Palazzo Senatorio is a historic building in Rome , the city's town hall since 1144 , which makes it the oldest town hall in the world. [1] [2] Built between the 12th and 13th centuries on the ruins of the Tabularium and the temple of Veiove , it was remodeled during the 16th century under the supervision of Michelangelo Buonarroti and later Giacomo Della Porta.

Located in Piazza del Campidoglio , on the hill of the same name , it is flanked by the Renaissance Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo Nuovo , which make up the complex of the Capitoline Museums . Until Rome was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1870, it was the seat of the Senator of Rome .

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Statue Of The Tiber

Tiber River God Sculpture

This marble statue is one of two river gods flanking a fountain on a grand staircase designed by Michelangelo. It is located in front of Palazzo Senatorio which is part of the Capitoline Museums. The sculpture represented the Tigris River when it was first installed at the Baths of Constantine during the 2nd century. Before it was moved to Palazzo dei Conservatori, the face was altered to resemble a wolf in order to symbolize the Tiber River. His left hand holds a cornucopia. Below his right elbow are images of the infants Remus and Romulus.

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The Capitoline Wolf

The Capitoline Wolf (Italian: Lupa Capitolina) is a bronze sculpture depicting a scene from the legend of the founding of Rome. The sculpture shows a she-wolf suckling the mythical twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. According to the legend, when King Numitor, grandfather of the twins, was overthrown by his brother Amulius in Alba Longa, the usurper ordered them to be cast into the Tiber River. They were rescued by a she-wolf that cared for them until a herdsman, Faustulus, found and raised them.

The she-wolf from the legend of Romulus and Remus was regarded as a symbol of Rome from ancient times. Several ancient sources refer to statues depicting the wolf suckling the twins. Livy reports in his Roman history that a statue was erected at the foot of the Palatine Hill in 295 BC. Pliny the Elder mentions the presence in the Roman Forum of a statue of a she-wolf that was "a miracle proclaimed in bronze nearby, as though she had crossed the Comitium while Attus Navius was taking the omens". Cicero also mentions a statue of the she-wolf as one of a number of sacred objects on the Capitoline that had been inauspiciously struck by lightning in 65 BC: "it was a gilt statue on the Capitol of a baby being given suck from the udders of a wolf." Cicero also mentions the wolf in De Divinatione 1.20 and 2.47

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Il Pensiero by Giulio Monteverde
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The Goddess Rome by Angelo Zanelli

The Goddess Rome

On the origin of the term “Rome” there is a plurality of hypotheses, including derivation from the ancient Greek ??µ? i.e. rome translatable as “strength” or from the Etruscan Rumon, the Etruscan name for the Tiber River.

According to the oldest tradition Roma was a Trojan captive who accompanied Odysseus and Aeneas from the land of the Molossians in Illyria, Latium. According to other traditions she was instead the daughter or wife of Ascanius, son of Aeneas; according to this legend Rome was named after this mythological figure.

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The Quadriga of Unity by Carlo Fontana

The Unity

The Unity is represented as a classical Victory with outstretched wings and a laurel wreath, standing on a chariot pulled by four horses that stride forward in a dignified manner. The Unity raises her right arm forward in greeting. Her left hand rests on a shield that shows a famous quotation from Livy’s Histories: “HIC MANEBIMUS OPTIME”, or “Here we will stay, most excellently”. According to tradition, the phrase was adopted by Quintino Sella (1827-1884), future Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Italy, when Rome finally became the capital of Italy, in 1871. 

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Winged lion by Giuseppe Tonnini
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The Force by Augusto Rivalta
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The Capitoline Hill

The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill, between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the Seven Hills of Rome.

The hill was earlier known as Mons Saturnius, dedicated to the god Saturn.[citation needed] The word Capitolium first meant the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus later built here, and afterwards it was used for the whole hill (and even other temples of Jupiter on other hills), thus Mons Capitolinus (the adjective noun of Capitolium). In an etymological myth, ancient sources connect the name to caput ("head", "summit") and the tale was that, when laying the foundations for the temple, the head of a man was found. The Capitolium was regarded by the Romans as indestructible, and was adopted as a symbol of eternity.

By the 16th century, Capitolinus had become Capitolino in Italian, and Capitolium Campidoglio. The Capitoline Hill contains few ancient ground-level ruins, as they are almost entirely covered up by Medieval and Renaissance palazzi (now housing the Capitoline Museums) that surround a piazza, an urban plan designed by Michelangelo.